This week I have been mostly…

Been having too many feelings. It’s been a busy old time on the emotional front. There have been a bunch of triggers that I’m not going to go into, but the result has been a pretty messy me. I’ve done what I always do when I don’t think I can trust what I feel; retreat whilst I decode. I’ve spent a lot of time with myself listening to music that either comforts or acts as a conduit for those emotions. Thus I present, all the tunes that I’ve been hitting repeat on.

Teenage Talk by St Vincent is simultaneously sweet & deep. It’s wistful sound is definitely aided by the harpsichord & the fluid tone of St Vincent’s voice. The song pours over you like tequila smoothly warming your insides. The lyrics capture the both the nostalgic way we view the past & the reality of why our youth is so alluring. As the song says, our teenage years were before we made any terrible mistakes, but our golden days are also probably much more mundane than we remember. I like the hope that realisation brings. Simpler isn’t always better.

I first heard Strangers on Graham Norton, which is probably a sign that I am very old, but the nevertheless I instantly loved it. I just really like the sound of Sigrid’s voice, so I suspect I’ll like anything she releases. The changing tempo of this one is very pleasing. The sort of ‘anti romance propaganda’ of the lyrics paired with heartbeat like bass is incredibly appealing. I’m loving it.

I’m mostly loving this next song because if I close my eyes when I listening it transports me to warm blue waters & floating peacefully. After a few listens of Lana Del Rey’s, Get Free the lyrics sunk in & spoke to me. Being ‘crazy’ can feel like being stuck on a ride that you can’t get off. Even in recovery I often need to remind myself that sometimes I can press stop. I like the imagery of stepping out of the black & into the blue. I also very much enjoy sinking into depths of its instrumentation.

You know sometimes you hear a song & it feels like it was written just for you? That’s how I felt when the first time I listened to Lorde’s Liability. In fact, it took me quite a few plays not to cry. In describing her own very different situation she perfectly summed up how I feel about by interactions with other people. Through a combination of mental illness, physical illness & just being a pretty weird person I have learned to feel that I’m difficult to love. The lyrics of this song sum up my internal thought process perfectly. I’m the kind of person who can be exciting & different. My weirdness seems fun, my crazy a little wild, but the novelty always wears off. In the end the whole package is trouble. I’m too hard & my charm wears off. In short,

‘I’m a liability. A little too much for everyone’

For a long time I was completely convinced that summation was 100% correct. Then as I got stronger I began to believe that maybe it wasn’t true at all. Man, that negative voice in my head is strong, though. So, honestly sometimes I still feel like liability is a spot on description. Sometimes I think it’s only half true. Other times I just can’t decide what’s true at all. Regardless, it’s a beautiful song. Soft piano based sections spelling out sadness. Extended phrases that almost make you run out of breath as you rush to complete them; just like the panic you feel when you realise someone is leaving you. It’s a stunningly painful song. That leaves you hurting in all the right ways.

Snowy trees viewed through a window

The Guillemots are incredibly underrated. Their songs invariably hit all my spots & I don’t feel amazing now is no exception. From the second the song starts the music & lyrics are expertly entwined. The slowly rising chords are the perfect aural interpretation of the lyrical plea for help. The beautiful honesty of just admitting, I do not feel good is refreshing. The combination of wanting to be left alone, but also really needing someone to take your hand and make it ok is too familiar. The surprisingly hopeful note in such a despondent song is again emulated in the introduction of steel dreams to the orchestration. It lifts the song onto another level & has me hitting that repeat button time & again.

‘Just take my hand & stop the moonlight fading

Just take my hand & lead me up the stairs

Just take my hand & make me feel amazing,

‘Cos I don’t feel amazing now…’

Fringe benefits…

Last weekend I was in Edinburgh for the closing days of the festival. I had such a good time, but as is the spoonie way, it took me days to recover. I also had some exciting going ons keeping me busy this week, so it’s taken me a while to put a post together. Obviously the fringe is over, but you can catch my recommendations performing around the country all year.

I have been a Neil Holborn fan for a while, but this was my first opportunity to see him perform. He did not disappoint. His poetry is stunning; words have so much power when manipulated correctly. Much of his work packs a punch, but he can apply a light comedic touch too. Neil has been receiving some well deserved acclaim recently & I hope his star continues to ascend. 

The next two shows were the toyboy’s choices. I’m going to give him credit for content, but a big fat zero for the venues being so far apart. Lost Voice Guy tackles inspiration porn, tory welfare cuts & his own experience of disability all whilst being highly amusing. Chris Coltrane continued the political stand up with his Make Love and Smash Facism show. If like me, you’re a left wing, bleeding heart liberal who likes a lot of swearing, this is the show for you. If like me you also have a very dodgy knee & often faint in hot rooms, The Banshee may not be the venue for you. Edinburgh is possibly the least accessible city in existence, so when I say I had a good time, you know the shows were good. 


After drinks & dinner & more drinks we hit a late night comedy show at The Mash House (another contender for hottest spot outside hell). Two girls one cup of comedy was a show that guaranteed at least two female stand ups every night. We caught the very last show which, to my delight, was an all women line up. The stand out for me was definitely Samantha Baines. Her compèreing combined quality puns, hilarious audience interaction & a tiny bit of man mocking. Turns out I’ve been under a rock & Baines is already rather well known & loved. I am glad to have joined the party, even if I am very late. 

We saw some other bits & pieces and visited a few non fringe related spots, but these are my picks. I recommend you rush to them should they visit your vicinity. 

The end of festival fireworks were really beautiful too. 


*Photo credit, top right – Stephen Black.

This week I have been mostly….

Feeling sentimental. Sop has been oozing from my very pores. Who can tell what’s brought this on, but it’s certainly influenced my aural choices. 

I’m going to kick off with a tune brought to my attention by a decidedly unsoppy man. This must be the place is such a warm contented song that it always makes me feel a tad melty. Talking Heads’ grown up, understated love song is precisely the style of happily ever after that appeals to me. 

  
I stumbled upon an old Del Amitri cd last week & have been rediscovering their meloncholy magic since. One song in particular has been bringing a lump to throat ; Tell her this  brings to mind that rare moment when you feel ready to let your guard down. I’m careful with my heart and rather slow to trust. So reaching the point where I’m ready to jump is special. I love the sensation when you know you’re both really in it & ‘Tell her this’  embodies that. 

Next up is a singer who has infiltrated my dreams. Damien rice writes the most stunning lyrics. I relate to so many of his beautiful works, but one in particular keeps finding me in my sleep. Accidental Babies is about knowing with absolute certainty who you should be with despite the fact that you’re not together. It’s raw emotion & naked yearning are a punch in the gut. Rice’s description of love, both passionate & ordinary is so real. It’s strange, yet beautiful to discover that a complete stranger has captured your own experience. 

 
Gregory & the Hawk are  my penultimate purveyors of love. Boats and Birds is an ode to adoration. The classic romantic imagery of stars & seas are enchanting. As is the notion of caring for someone else’s happiness before your own. I challenge you to listen to this & not think about the most important person in your life. 
I shall leave you with a masterpiece. No one speaks my heart better than Joni Mitchell & A case of you is my soul in three verses. From the northern star to a partner flowing in your blood, it’s a work of genius. Joni has summed up the power & sadness & mystery of love. I first heard this song when I was 11years old & instantly longed for that strength of feeling. Now as an adult I know both the joys & sorrows of drenching myself in an intoxicating man. My heart remains unaltered, I am still on my feet.